Thursday, September 10, 2009

Superfast Layer Cake

When I saw that both choices for the Barefoot Bloggers this month were cakes, I was worried. Not as much about the baking, as about the sugar and the butter and the calories and how on earth I was going to get rid of so much cake. Especially when today's choice wasn't just a normal sized cake, but a huge sheet cake - the kind of cake you make when you need to feed the neighbourhood, or a small island nation. But sometimes a good idea comes along (in this case via someone else's blog), and you wind up with something wonderful.

I had seen Christy's 30 layer cake (!!!) at 5 Types of Sugar and Other Treats, and was fascinated by it. I have neither the skills or the inclination to spend two days on such an extreme cake, but I did like the idea of baking thin layers of batter between sheets of baking paper to stop them drying out or sticking, and then piling them up into a layer cake. I decided to try an experiment with this week's Barefoot cake, by halving the recipe, but baking it in the enormous tin size specified (12 inches by 18 inches) to create thinner layers. Because I wanted all my resident cake-eaters to enjoy this, I opted to make a vanilla cake, so I left out the lemon and upped the amount of vanilla. The only tin I have big enough is the bottom half of my griller tray, so I lined it with baking paper, spread the batter out as evenly as I could, topped it with another sheet of baking paper, and slid it into the oven. The cake was cooked in about 12 minutes. I left it to cool in the tray, while I whipped up some cream with a tablespoon of sugar to sandwich the layers together. Once the cake was cool, it was just a matter of chopping it up into evenly sized pieces and sandwiching it all together. If you are wanting to be really quick, you could spead some more cream on top and decorate with strawberries. I wasn't in that much of a rush, so I topped it all with Ina's chocolate frosting which was easy and delicious, although it took longer to make than the cake. The result was two 4 layer cakes, each about the size of a loaf tin. It was really good - all the cake-eaters went back for seconds. Something tells me that I don't need to worry about how I am going to get rid of all this cake.

I will definitely make this recipe again, although next time I may try baking two layers with the same amount of batter, so I get an 8 layer cake instead. You never know, if I keep going like this, one day I may get to a 30 layer cake.... Incidentally, the quantities below are what I used for my half portion - click on the recipe title for the original recipe and quantities. And thank you to Susy of Everyday Gourmet for the choice. My cake-eaters thank you also.

adapted from "Barefoot Contessa at Home" by Ina Garten

For the cake
135g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/6 cup corn flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
For the frosting:
360g semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup pouring cream
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tbl unsalted butter, at room temperature
Whipped cream to fill (if desired)
Preheat the oven to 175C. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan. Line with baking paper. To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the sour cream, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until smooth. Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and cover with anoher sheet of baking paper. Bake in the center of the oven for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan to room temperature.

For the frosting, place the chocolate chips and cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chips are completely melted. Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it's thickened.
Cut the cake into evenly sized pieces. Lift carefully off the baking paper with a spatula. Spread the frosting or cream evenly on each slice, and pile up until you have your layer cake. Coat the outside with frosting.


BMK said...

Looks great! I love your variation. Very clever.

spike. said...

your cake looks unbelievable- all the layers and that frosting! amazing work- my guess is you'll have no trouble finding people to help you eat this one

Kate said...

I have been a bit nervous about this cake...I am late....doing it tonight. I am glad to hear that you thought it came together nicely. I am headed toward the kitchen!

Debinhawaii said...

Looks delicious--I love all the layers!